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11-04-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Chlamydia screening may not reduce rates of pelvic inflammatory disease


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MedWire News: A UK study suggests that annual screening for chlamydia among young women is unlikely to protect them from developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) during the subsequent year.

Most cases of PID—which can result in infertility—occurred in women who were negative for chlamydia at initial testing.

“Policy makers might consider focusing on more frequent testing of those at higher risk, such as women with a new sexual partner or a recent history of chlamydial infection,” suggest Pippa Oakeshott from St George’s, University of London, in the UK, and colleagues.

The study included 2529 sexually active female students who completed a sexual health questionnaire and provided a self-taken vaginal swab.

Swabs were either immediately tested for chlamydia (n = 1259) or after a year (n = 1270).

In all, 5.4 percent of women in the screened group tested positive for chlamydia, and 1.3 percent developed PID. Among the deferred-testing group, 5.9 percent had chlamydia and 1.9 percent developed PID.

Among women with PID, 79 percent were negative for chlamydia at baseline. In addition, of those women with PID who competed a 12-month questionnaire, 70 percent reported having two or more sexual partners during the year.

“The effectiveness of a single chlamydia test in preventing pelvic inflammatory disease over 12 months may have been overestimated,” conclude Oakeshott et al.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2010

By Sarah Guy